Losing grip

1422499237817-2068177019Do you ever feel like this when you don't get the chance to write?

I just had my ass kicked. My nose is broken. There is blood down my chin. I have a gash on my head, my vision is filled with red. I can't think straight. I'm lying on the ground looking up at the stars wondering what the hell just happened to me but the truth is I know the answer; I was attacked by a beast. An angry beast. Angry because it hasn't gotten what it needed from me. Angry because I haven't fed it. Angry because I haven't worked it. Angry because it needs to be doing what it needs to be doing and I am the thing its way.

It's been a busy week and a half. Work has taken over my life. For good, positive reasons, but a complete takeover nevertheless. I've had to put in a few 14-hour days and writing has been pushed to the side. Work hasn't just consumed all my available time, it has wiped out my brain capacity. Looking back at the week, I can say without regret that there were no hours that I wasted, that could have been used instead to sneak in some writing time.

I simply lost my writing momentum. I am behind on my plan to have the first pass through my new novel done by the end of January. And even though the project is over and I am free to blend some writing time back into my day, I am having trouble getting started. In fact, these are the first words I have written in a week. And the Beast has been chirping away at me.

Four months ago, for my birthday, my daughter bought me a gift certificate to her favorite tattoo parlor. I had the artist put a typewriter on my forearm with a page that reads A Writer Writes clearly above it. It is the first thing I see every morning when I wake up. It's a constant reminder of the idea I had at the time that I would allow myself the dream of writing fiction again.

Every day since I got it, I have appreciated the tattoo, especially while writing my first draft of the new novel. It was a reminder to get to work, a reminder that the work would not get done unless my butt was in a chair and my fingers were on the keyboard, that I could not call myself a writer unless I was actively writing.

Today, the tattoo mocks me. No longer is it a friendly and uplifting prod to get me started in the morning. Now, it's a sour note that clangs in my brain everytime I see it. You're not a writer, it says. You're not writing. You're not moving a story forward. You're not hitting your goal.

The Beast is right to be angry. I'm angry too. Which is why being beaten by the Beast so ferociously hurts beyond the physical pain.

What the Beast doesn't know is that I love him. I don't suppose you can imagine, when he sees my face after ripping me apart, after breaking my bones, drawing my blood, that I could feel this way, but I do love him. I need him. And he needs me.

Tomorrow, I'm going to feed the Beast and this tattoo is going to feel right again.

What do you to get back on track when life derails you from your writing?

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